We'd like your feedback on a potential new verification process

February 22, 2006

Before we show you site stats, we verify site ownership by asking you to upload a uniquely named file. Some webmasters can't do this (for instance, they can't upload files or they can't choose filenames). We are considering adding an alternate verification option and would like your feedback. This option would be an additional choice. It would not replace the current verification process. If you have already verified your site, you won't need to do anything new.

This alternate verification process would require that you place a meta tag in the <HEAD> section of your home page. This META tag would contain a text string unique to your Sitemaps account and site. We would provide you with this tag, which would look something like this:

<meta name="owner-v1" contents="unique_string">

We would check for this meta tag in the first <HEAD> section of the page, before the first <BODY> section. We would do this so that if your home page is editable (for instance, is a wiki-type page or a blog with comments), someone could not add this meta tag to the editable section of your page and claim ownership of your site.

The unique string would be a base-64 encoded SHA-256 hash of a string that is composed of the email address of the owner of the site (for instance, admin@google.com) and the domain name of the site (for instance, google.com).

We'd like your comments on this proposal. For those of you who can't verify now, would this be a method you could use to verify? Do you see any potential problems with this method? Let us know what you think in our Google Group.